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The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade.

William T. Wawn.


London: Swan Sonnenschein and Co., 1893. A record of voyages and experiences in the Western Pacific, from 1875 to 1891. First edition. Octavo, blue canvas boards, blind triple ruled on the front board, gilt triple ruled and gilt title on the spine, pp. xvi, 440, 63 illustrations, 5 maps. Ferguson 18256.

Very Good, head and tail of spine bumped, corners chafed, boards lightly marked, interior is fine and free of foxing, previous owner has listed the maps in pencil at the end of the list of illustrations (p.xvi), ex libris “Daniel Baugh” whose bookplate shows a monkey wearing glasses sitting between two candles, a book in one hand and quill in the other.  $195.

William Twizell Wawn (1837 – 1901) was a master mariner, cartographer, artist and author. Born in County Durham, England, he began his career in a York architect’s office but soon left for the sea. In late 1863 he began his long association with Australia, first salvaging and beachcombing, and then in 1875 he made his first voyage in the Island Labour Trade. He spent the next twenty years, off and on, as a labour trade skipper. Peter Corris, who wrote the entry on Wawn for the Australian Dictionary of Biography, describes his book as, “a valuable, sensitive and subtle account of the nature of the trade.”